The Frog King vs. Cupid and Psyche

“Cupid and Psyche” is an interesting tale to compare to “The Frog King” by the Brothers Grimm. “Cupid and Psyche”, just from the title and background clearly feature Greek Mythology. Both stories feature similarities as well as many differences.

Both stories begin introducing the beautiful daughter, whom is only given a name in “Cupid and Psyche”. The overall character of the daughter is similar, as she is described to be the most beautiful and alluring. The daughter is also a princess, and her two sisters are not as beautiful as she. This gives the youngest princess a certain uniqueness and allure to suitors. Differences in the rising action are all in the detail here; the core detail of the princess is introduced, but differences arise in the little things. The golden ball is a detail only found in “The Frog King”, and in “Cupid and Psyche”, the inciting incident is instead about Venus’s jealousy and ordering Cupid.

Venus represents the evil character, who is jealous of Psyche and wants to punish her. Her punishment involves cursing Psyche to have her future husband be a monster. This introduction of a beast/monster occurs in both stories, as the frog in “The Frog King” is the monster there.

Another interesting point of comparison is the parental figures. In “The Frog King”, the king forces the princess to keep her promise to the frog, as it is not very honorable to break one’s promise. And in “Cupid and Psyche”, Psyche’s parents make her go to the mountain and await her fate. In both stories the parents do the right thing, no matter how tough or unlikeable their decision is.

Of course, both stories feature a happy ending. Psyche at last is happily united with Cupid, and they even bear a daughter. And in “The Frog King”, the frog is transformed into a prince and he and the princess marry happily. Both these endings feature rewarding the princess, with her true love and happiness. An interesting difference is that there is no Faithful Henry character in “Cupid and Psyche”, as it is not relevant to that version of the story.

While these are two very different stories, they share a few common motifs and details as mentioned above. They are both interesting to read and compare, and lessons can be learned from both. Perhaps most importantly, they share the common motif of a beast. Both stories are rooted in very different, influential backgrounds, causing the stories to take their own shape and form.

In reference to the pictures featured, all the cupid and psyche pictures are very intimate, sexual, and often feature nudity. I find this interesting, as the frog king pictures are usually just featuring the frog with a crown or non-sexual interaction with the princess. This probably is related to the many sexual overtones and themes that often accompany Greek mythology and tales, whilst the Grimm’s downplayed sexuality more often than not.

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